Tag Archives | Thanksgiving

Kids Thanksgiving Activities

Making Thanksgiving Memories

Yes, it’s true.  Last year for Thanksgiving we did a reenactment of the First Thanksgiving with pilgrim hats, Indian headdresses, teepee, pretend fire and all.  It was fun and entertaining for the kids and adults- and yes, perhaps a bit overboard.

But there’s nothing wrong with “overboard” when it comes to kids and fun, right?  After all, these are Thanksgiving Memories in the making for them.

Thanksgiving Activities for Kids

“Not Overboard” Activities

For some simple activities that don’t require erecting a teepee, check out these adorable Thanksgiving activities from HP Creative Studio:

Thanksgiving Kid Activities

HP Creative Studio Kid Activities to print- free!

Thanksgiving Kids Activities

Word Scramble by HP Creative Studios- click here to print

Thanksgiving Kids Activities

Word Search by HP Creative Studio- click here to download

Thanksgiving Kids Activities

Fill-In Story by HP Creative Studios- click here to download


The First Thanksgiving Reenactment

If you are interested in making your own First Thanksgiving reenactment, you can make any combination of the following:

1.  Pilgrim Hat

These adorable pilgrim hats are made from plain white copy paper and yarn.  Here’s a great tutorial from Skip To My Lou.

Thanksgiving Kids Activities

Pilgrim hats made from plain white copy paper

2.  Pretend Fire

A pretend fire can be made from paper towel rolls painted brown and flames cut from red, orange and yellow construction paper.  I used a disposable party tray bottom for the base of our fire.

Thanksgiving Kids Activities

pretend fire made from paper towel rolls and construction paper

3.  Native American Teepee

This one can be tricky.  Here is a great tutorial from Confessions Of A Prop Junkie.

Thanksgiving Kids Activities

Native American Teepee

4.  Picnic Table

For a table and chair, I brought in our outdoor resin kids picnic bench from Playskool.  What’s nice is this doubles as the “kids” table for Thanksgiving Dinner.

Thanksgiving Kids Activities

The First Thanksgiving Stage- my family room

Have a Happy & Memorable Thanksgiving!

Toni’s 12 Days of Thanksgiving

If you’re not already signed up for my Thanksgiving planning guide “Toni’s 12 Days of Thanksgiving”, sign up now to receive daily tips, videos and recipes:

Black Friday

Don’t forget about our Black Friday special for The Organized Cook Weekly Meal Plan System.  The biggest discount-ever- for this monthly subscription that brings you the most recent meal plans straight to your inbox each week is 70% off for one day only!

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Toni’s 12 Days of Thanksgiving

Toni’s 12 Days of Thanksgiving

“Spending Turkey Day with Your Family, NOT the Kitchen

Toni’s 12 Days of Thanksgiving goes something like this: do one or two small tasks every day for 12 days before Thanksgiving.  The result- stress-free holiday with lots of time to do what matters most to you by spending time with friends and family.

Day 1:  (Saturday November 12th)

Day 2:  (Sunday November 13th)

Day 3:  (Monday November 14th)

Day 4:  (Tuesday November 15th)

Day 5:  (Wednesday November 17th)

Day 6:  (Thursday November 17th)

Day 7:  (Friday November 18th)

Day 8:  (Saturday November 19th)

Day 9:  (Sunday November 20th)

Day 10:  (Monday November 21st)

Day 11:  (Tuesday November 22nd)

Day 12:  (Wednesday November 23rd)

Day of: Thanksgiving Day 24th

  1. Prep turkey first and put in oven to roast
  2. Prepare stuffing
  3. Mashed potatoes are perfect to heat and keep warm in slow cooker
  4. Combine punch ingredients, but don’t place ice ring in punch until guests begin to arrive
  5. Set out cranberry sauce to bring to room temperature
  6. Bake stuffing and sweet potato casserole
  7. Warm mushroom sauce in microwave or in a smaller slow cooker to heat and keep warm
  8. Steam green beans
  9. Warm rolls in oven
  10. Make gravy using pan juice from cooked turkey
  11. Cook spinach recipe last

To download printable plan:

click on image to download

Toni’s 12-day guide breaks up the overwhelming job of preparing for Thanksgiving Dinner into small daily tasks, allowing busy moms to spend the holiday enjoying family and friends instead of slaving away at the stove.  With daily tips, recipes and videos, Toni will help make this holiday less stressful.  Sign up now for Toni’s weekly newsletters to receive “Toni’s 12 Days of Thanksgiving”.  Sign up here.


Plan. Organize. Enjoy.

And now I’m sharing my plan with you.  If you’re not signed up to receive our free weekly newsletter through our rss feed, sign up now and stay tuned to receive your daily plan beginning November 11th.  This year I’m including menus, recipes, printables, activity ideas, grocery shopping lists, giveaways, videos, coupons and decorating tips each day for 12 days.

Here’s what’s on the menu this year.

Sparkling-Spiced Cranberry Punch with Cranberry Ice Ring

Cranberry Punch

Sparkling Spiced Cranberry Punch with Cranberry Ice Ring


Glazed Cranberry Apple Rolls

Pear Walnut Gorgonzola Arugula Salad

Herb Roasted Turkey

Baked Cranberry Chestnut Stuffing

Toni’s Perfect Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce recipe

Toni's Perfect Cranberry Sauce

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes with Pan Turkey Gravy

Not-So-Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet Potato Casserole recipe

Not-So-Sweet Potato Casserole


Steamed Green Beans with Mushroom White-Wine Shallot Sauce (wine optional)

Thanksgiving Green Bean Recipe by Toni Spilsbury The Organized Cook

Steamed Green Beans with Mushroom White Wine Shallot Sauce

Sauteed Spinach with Cranberries and Pine Nuts

Join me this Thanksgiving and spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your family.  Happy Holidays!


Thanksgiving Dinner Cooking For A Large Group





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Have Your Side Dish Make An Entrance- Escalloped Carrots

Easy Thanksgiving Side Dish

My Thanksgiving planning guide “Toni’s 12 Days of Thanksgiving” centers around cooking Thanksgiving Dinner for a large group.  But what if you just need to make a side dish?  Do you take the traditional green bean casserole, or sweet potato pie?  Here’s a side dish that’s easy, affordable and delicious.

Escalloped Carrots


  1. 5-6 large carrots, sliced into 1/2 inch slices
  2. 4 cups seasoned breadcrumbs

    carrots, breadcrumbs, onion, cheese, milk, butter & salt

  3. onion- 1, minced
  4. shredded cheddar cheese- 2 cups
  5. milk- 2 cups
  6. Butter


  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees F
  2. Place carrots, breadcrumbs and onion in alternate layers in a buttered casserole dish.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Cover with cheese.
  5. Pour milk over the top.
  6. Bake until bubbly and brown, and carrots are tender approximately 1 hour.
easy thanksgiving side dish

melt butter in bottom of casserole baking dish

easy thanksgiving side dish

dice carrots

easy thanksgiving side dish

layer carrots

easy thanksgiving side dish

and breadcrumbs

easy thanksgiving side dish

after layering onion, pour cheese over the top

easy thanksgiving side dish

and repeat

easy thanksgiving side dish

pour hot milk over the top


easy thanksgiving side dish

bake at 375 degrees for about an hour, until bubbly hot, tender and brown


easy thanksgiving side dish

in case you were wondering where I got the super groovy measuring cups- Anthropology!


Toni’s 12 Days of Thanksgiving

If you’re not signed up get my videos, recipes and tips via email, you can sign up below:

Thanksgiving menu planning



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Dishing about Dishes- Day 3: Toni’s 12 Days of Thanksgiving

Cooking Thanksgiving For A Large Group

Create a stress-less Thanksgiving Day this year with Toni’s 12 Days of Thankgiving.

Thanksgiving Planning by Toni Spilsbury The Organized Cook

win customized Thanksgiving party printables by Bella Grey Designs

It’s Day 3 and we’re dishing about…. well, dishes.

Today is the day I decide which dishes are best to use for my “make-ahead” recipes like Toni’s Perfect Cranberry Sauce and Mushroom Shallot Sauce for our steamed green beans, and which serving dishes I will be using for each recipe.

So which food storage containers are best to use?  Personally, I like the glass storage that can go from the freezer/refrigerator straight into the oven like Pyrex Food Storage Containers or Versaglass by Ziploc.

Pyrex Bake, Serve And Store Sets on sale $29.86 regular $34.99

By storing food in these airtight containers, reheating is a cinch.


What’s In A Dish

I’ve been caught too many times on Thanksgiving Day rummaging through my cupboards at the last minute looking for a serving dish.

It took me a few years to realize that if I pull my serving dishes out ahead of time and label them so I know which recipes go where, Thanksgiving Dinner is a lot stressful.  It also gives me the opportunity to do a quick wash on the Fall serving bowls and platters that may have collected some dust over the past year.

So, if you can find the space- whether it’s a hardly-used formal dining room table, folding table or anywhere your dishes can be safely out of the way, it’s worth the time to get them ready.

Typically I use a sticky note or piece of paper, and one year I used my label maker.  But this year I’m lucky enough to have had Bella Grey Designs create recipe tent cards for my entire Thanksgiving menu.

If you can spare the space and set up serving dishes in exactly the same order you would like them to go on Thanksgiving Day, that’s even better.

Thanksgiving Grocery Shopping

If you haven’t done the grocery shopping yet for your Thanksgiving Dinner, don’t forget to check out our last minute grocery shopping tips!

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